Essentials of Buddhist Training

When we’re in serious Buddhist training we should be engaged in mindfulness all the time, not simply when we are on the cushion. Sacredness isn’t limited to temples, the whole world is our temple.

When we are in training, ideally our bodies and minds are controlled. If we aren’t in control of ourselves, then we can cause harm to ourselves and others, which would be unfortunate.

In our practice, when we use a stabilization method such as following the breath, chanting a mantra, or burning incense, our purpose is to ensure that we are controlling our bodies and minds. There are many methods for self control.

When we sit in meditation, a natural position is best. Straighten your back as much as you can. If you start to slouch your back might start to hurt.

When our meditation practice becomes effective, there will be distractions. Mental states will arrive but we cannot cling to them. If we just observe them and let them go, then they will no longer hinder us.

Even if you get really bizarre or unexpected feelings, you should just notice them and not be afraid of them.

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About Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel Scharpenburg is an independent dharma teacher and Ch'an Adept living in Kansas City. He regularly gives teachings through the Open Heart Project. He also runs the Monday Night Zen Group at the Rime Buddhist Center. His writing has appeared in Lion's Roar, Patheos, Tattooed Buddha, and Elephant Journal. Daniel has taken Bodhisattva Vows and was transmitted the Caodong Ch'an lineage of Master Hsu Yun.

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